Week Log: On the Threshhold of Ignominy

To those of you not familiar with Week Log, Thursdays on Boston Sports Media Watch bring our weekly tour of the blogs in and around Boston. It’s coming to you a little earlier today as Bruce enjoys his belated vaca, so sit back and check out some great takes along this off-Broadway of Boston sports. We start with hockey.

Bruins

A week ago, it was money that the on-again-off-again B’s season would extend beyond last year’s magical ride. Back on Friday night, when Mark Recchi netted the tying goal with 32 seconds left in Game 4 and the B’s already up three games to none, I told my son that that was it. The Philadelphia Flyers were officially demoralized and would be laying down in OT. The only problem is that no Bruin scored for the next 134 minutes, and that fortress of an advantage has now been officially squandered. Big Bad Blog has the Flyers only the sixth team in NHL history to force a decisive game after being down 3-0, as the B’s cannot figure out their sudden scoring woes. And Kathryn Tappen is now asking questions that weren’t even relevant last week.

Today is one of those days when loyal fans are supposed to rally and remind each other it’s not over yet. Unfortunately, some of us have been around too long to under-estimate the effect of momentum, nor overlook the fact that the Flyers look entirely like the better team. Remember our confidence going into Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, that just-throw-out-the-first-pitch-because-this-one’s-over air of supremacy we all had? I now have a please-don’t-drop-the-damn-puck-because-this-one’s-over dread of tomorrow night. So does Mike Felger, but then again he’ll settle for the infamy of blowing a 3-0 lead rather than losing to the Canadiens in the conference finals.

All right, time to turn it over to those better able to deal with the stress of day-to-day Bruins coverage.

Ghosts of the Garden is back and has this ugly mess starting in Game 4 when Tim Thomas was not in net and Tuukka Rask was on his knees five times. Masshole Sports thinks the return of Simon Gagne, who got the Game 4 sudden death winner, may have propelled the Flyers to an historic comeback.

After Monday night’s pathetic affair that let the Flyers back in this series, Rink Rap looked at some notorious Game 5 eggs laid by the Black & Gold. Monday’s stinker quickly reminded Boston Sports Blog of this winter’s 10-game losing streak. Something’s Bruin can’t excuse the mess of a hockey team that played with no passion in Game 5.

The consensus is that the Bruins’ effort was better last night, but despite a 31-27 shots on goal advantage, Black & Gold says the B’s perimeter shooting did little to pressure Flyer goalie Michael Leighton. ESPN Boston Bruins Blog has the Flyers shutting down the B’s blueline attack by blocking 30 shots. Stanley Cup of Chowder says last night looked like the regular season B’s we all came to know and loathe. Joe Haggerty has this playoff experience morphing into something bordering nightmarish.

And Here We Go Bruins! offers an interesting feature on traumatic brain injury, a condition that has felled the Flyers’ Ian Laperriere after he took a puck in the face during the first round.

Celtics

Much better news on the shamrock side of town as the Celtics took Sunday’s Game 4 and Tuesday’s Game 5, and it could get even better tonight.

Celtics Central is confident that the ruthless guile meted out by Rajon Rondo in Sunday’s triple double for the ages has never been witnessed before. CelticsBlog has the high tide of Rondo’s game lifting Ray Allen’s boat.

Banner 18? says Tuesday’s win was all about the D and the bench holding the lead. Celtics Hub says Cavs coach Mike Brown must explain why he didn’t keep LeBron James on Rondo for the full 48 on Tuesday night after having success with the strategy in the first half. There’s only so much Lebron and a lot more Pierce to go around, so Red’s Army tells Brown to pick his poison. LOSCY hates LeBrick more than he hates Kobe.

Boston Blood Sox sees two incontrovertible axioms at play in explaining Tuesday’s blowout win in Cleveland. Celtics Stuff Live sees no benefits of short-term memory in trying to figure this series out. Perk Is A Beast sees no reason to have to go back to Cleveland until October. Celtics Green‘s Comments From The Other Side paint a thoroughly beaten city of Cleveland after Tuesday’s humbling loss.

Bingo Bar Blog has ex-ref Tim Donaghy giving the C’s no chance against the Cavs in this economic downturn when the league needs its two biggest names in The Finals. North Station Sports has Donaghy dropping the F-bomb on the NBA’s front office, even going so far as to suggest Commissioner Stern helped the C’s tank a few games during their low-water mark.

Celtics Life issues an apology to Tony Allen but warns that if he re-ups in Boston and resumes his loafish tendenies, he’s free game for future attack. And with assistant coach Tom Thibodeau garnering interest around the league, Green Street says the C’s will have a large hole to fill if he breaks into the head coaching ranks.

Red Sox

The Sox just closed out a 7-3 homestand, which is acceptable in every way other than the two football scores the Yankees dropped on them last Friday and Saturday, but the Sox returned the favor with a football score of their own on Sunday. Confessions of a She-Fan says the series finale was about the starting pitchers; the Sox’ was sterling, the Yanks’ breakable. Subway Squawkers is astounded how we Sox fans want to talk more about A-Rod than our salvaging win.

Toeing The Rubber thoroughly enjoyed some ugly baseball in the opener against Toronto Monday night. The Bottom Line can’t tell if Matsuzaka’s new game plan of challenging hitters is working based on Tuesday’s win against the free-swinging Blue Jays, but Better Red Than Dead says Toronto’s is one lineup for which Daisuke’s nibbling ways could be excused.

The Mighty Quinn Media Machine says the state of home plate umpiring sucks across MLB and it may have cost the Sox a win yesterday afternoon. Tony Lee has the Sox forced to accept a difficult ending to an otherwise positive homestand on account of home plate umpire Dale Scott. Extra Bases offers a graphical analysis of Scott’s calls yesterday, but the most damning evidence yet is his unwillingness to toss David Ortiz after Papi’s demonstrative ninth inning strikeout yesterday.

Seeing both sides of all these blowouts and sweeps makes this a maddenly inconsistrent season for A Very Simple Game, while 4SportBoston calls it a serious identity crisis.

Sox Tea Party can’t remember the last time someone hit one further than Jason Varitek’s bomb on Tuesday. Speaking of which . . . no self-respecting blog can let Mayor Menino off the hook this week, so we offer Boston Dirt Dogs‘ comical image of Tek splitting the Superdome uprights.

Red Sox Monster questions Theo’s thought process in putting the team’s biggest defensive liability right out there behind the plate.

Fire Brand Of The American League gives odds on the next number to be retired at Fenway Park, and they’ve got only one slam dunk in their lot.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the world of Boston sports

With all this ordinary schmuck talk from Tom Brady about balancing time with his family, Jerry Thornton is deeply concerned he’ll be playing third fiddle behind the two Brady boys.

Nothing wrong with a little casual PED abuse among friends, right? Tom E. Curran quotes himself in justifying his reaffirmation of Brian Cushing as Defensive Rookie of the Year.

NESN‘s staff has compiled their Sweet Sixteen of legendary moments from Boston’s greatest sports legends.

And lastly, the Bruins did not have a monopoly on bad news last night as New England Revolution Blog has the injury-riddled Revs getting ousted from U.S. Open Cup competition.

That’s a wrap for today but don’t forget, Week Log is here every Thursday afternoon. And if you’re in the vacinity of TD Garden any time over the next two nights, I know two teams that could sure use your support. Go get ‘em, C’s and B’s!

Week Log: Blogapalooza!

No one knew what would happen if the Boston community of sports bloggers and podcasters made themselves an easy target by self-assembling. Like the President’s Cabinet in a time of war, this group may be one that is better left ungathered. The fallout from some calamitous occurrence is unthinkable: a major market returned as the sole domain of mainstream journalists! But if you know Joe Gill, you know he is one to push the envelope a little. And so began Blogapalooza.

Granted, such an off-Broadway collection as ours would be more likely taken out by a glass of bad Boston tap water than an air strike, but on Sunday Gill wasn’t risking either. He brought us down into the cellar of The Baseball Tavern where he served free beer to keep everyone away from the water. And for a blogger, the only thing more homey than spending a sunny day in a dark basement drinking other people’s beer is if mom herself were there to pour it into the mug. So, for all his efforts, Joe gets lead-off honors today on Boston Sports Then And Now, where he recounts how Blogapalooza did what it set out to do by uniting the blogging community.

Okay, moving beyond the basement, it couldn’t be a better week for the home teams. Toeing The Rubber called Monday a magical night where good things came in threes, while Boston Sports Blog had Monday’s B’s, C’s, and Sox results looking like an internet address. Since Palooza, the C’s have won their only game, the Sox have taken three straight, and the B’s are on the threshhold of their first conference finals since 1992. We gotta do this more often!

Seems like a lot to pick from, but Bingo Bar Blog tells you that, while an agenda-laced NBA is more about the ratings during its postseason, the pure-driven NHL remains all about the good of the game. All right then, let’s get to some hockey.

Bruins

Get the brooms ready, because the B’s may need them Friday after their 4-1 victory at the Wachovia Center last night put them in command of the Philadelphia Flyers, three games to none.

Saturday’s series-opening sudden-death win on the heels of blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 leads caused Here We Go Bruins to observe these B’s make better chasers than leaders. In what has now become an ironic twist, The Hockey Blog Adventure extols the virtues of having David Krejci in the lineup after his dirty-like-the-morning-shower goal in Game One.

View From 311 can’t resist another Satan pun after Miroslav netted another goal in Monday’s game that was marked by Marc Savard’s alleged biting incident. Masshole Sports thinks that if Daniel Carcillo doesn’t want his finger bitten, maybe he should keep his hands out of the face of a guy coming off a concussion. And if you thought there was any class still left in Philly, Joe Haggerty will sweep it away in his account of the growing animosity between the B’s and Flyers.

Big Bad Blog has Satan getting the game-winner last night on a play that started with Flyer Michael Richards’ over-aggressive hit on Krejci. Blog Of Ice has it a clean hit, but finishing Krejci for the game. Black & Gold has the hit finishing Krejci for the season. Throw in the first period loss of defenseman Adam McQuaid, and Barstool Sports says the B’s simply manned up when under-manned for two two-thirds of last night’s game. Rink Rap calls it a case of Philly throwing the kitchen sink at Boston and coming up with nothing, while Stanley Cup Of Chowder calls it another rock solid performance in net by Tuukka Rask. Something’s Bruin has Rask crushing all Flyers hope.

In certainly the headiest take of the week, Jerry Thornton employs quantum mechanics to explain how one atom proved the difference between playoff outsiders and heirs-apparent to the Eastern Conference finals for the B’s. Bruins Blog conducts an interesting team-building exercise across three Bruins GMs.

Celtics

After seeing the Celtics squanter an 11-point lead in Game One, a split against the Cavaliers in Cleveland never looked so good. Celtics Stuff Live has the 2010 team way ahead of their 2008 NBA champion counterparts in terms of being able to win playoff games on the road.

Celtics Central calls Monday night’s win in Quicken Loans Arena the first shovel of dirt burying the excuses and accusations of the season. And maybe a little on the poor excuse that has been Rasheed Wallace. CelticsBlog reminds us that they called for Sheed to make a positive impact on the Cavs series based on – get this – his compelling need to compete. Celtics Life says Sheed’s only consistency is that he’s consistently disappointing with a penchant for the occasional surprise like Monday night. Nor was Sheed the only contributor. Gino’s Jungle says it’s nice to see Danny Ainge doing whatever he can to help his team win. And with the Cavaliers playing uninspired ball, LOSCY has this now the Celtics’ series to lose.

Celtics Green has the officials living down to expectations of fans who believed the C’s would have to beat five Cavs and three zebras all night. But don’t blame the refs for the disparity in foul calls says Red’s Army, who contends the C’s are intentionally fouling in order to gain some control over the refs.

Celtics Town says that, with his selection onto the NBA’s First Team All-Defense, Rajon Rondo is now officially the C’s best player on both sides of the ball.

Red Sox

The win-three-lose-three-win-three-again Boston Red Sox may be trying to regain our favor, having taken six of the last nine games. One problem: their three losses came on Blogapalooza weekend, and Jonathan Papelbon’s tenth inning meltdown was the only show in town during Happy Hour.

Like the rest of us last Sunday afternoon, 4SportBoston envies Orioles fans, whose team is in a much better position than the Red Sox. I’m Jut Sayin’ slams Josh Beckett for not going the distance on Sunday, thereby leaving the door open for Papelbon . . . to remove it from its hinges. After being swept in Baltimore, A Very Simple Game is looking forward to summer when Theo will be a seller, and to the offseason when he blows the team up.

Better Red Than Dead slams David Ortiz for stranding seven runners on Tuesday night, when the Sox almost lost on account of Big Papi failing to do his only job. If you haven’t checked out Nuggetpalooza‘s weekly The Factors Report yet, there’s some interesting stats and so far, an awful lot of awful on the part of the Sox. Touching All The Bases says this team has been mistake-prone and uninteresting since bidding farewell to Ft. Myers.

BoSox Injection is beginning to come around on Marco Scutaro, who has it all together on the team mentality front. Now if he could just work on that run-prevention thing. Speaking of shortstops, on the eve of Nomar Garciaparra’s retirement party last night in The Fens, Boston Dirt Dogs reminisces through 15 years of No. 5 memories and one theme keeps popping up. Evan Brunell remembers the better times when Nomar was still hitting lasers.

Fenway Pastoral wants to return baseball’s masculinity by replacing pitchers with hitting tees. Maybe Theo could put the extra positional player somewhere in the outfield to help out with run prevention. Sorry, Theo. Six out of nine ain’t cutting it. Sweep the Yankees and we’ll talk next week.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructuring wandering through the Boston sports world

And Another Thing . . . feels like going out and taking a called third strike in honor of announcing great Ernie Harwell, who passed away at the age of 92 on Tuesday. Jack Edwards barely knew Harwell, but he’ll miss him just the same.

Jessica Isner tells us how the Boston Patriots jump-started the career of legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons, who was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame on Monday.

And like the sinking ship’s captain, I’ll be the last one off this week when I look at life on the twilight side of the hill for the hundreds of free agents not scooped up in this year’s NFL draft on Sports Central.

On behalf of Hub bloggers everywhere, I’d like to extend thanks to Joe Gill, The Baseball Tavern, and the many sponsors of Blogapalooza for a well-planned good time. See you a little earlier next Thursday, as Bruce will be away for the week.

Week Log: B’s the Talk of the Town

No surprise as to which team gets lead-off honors this week. For the third straight game, the Bruins reversed an early deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres last night at TD Garden and take a commanding 3-1 lead in their opening-round playoff series. They are officially the talk of the town today.

Bruins, baby!

ESPN Boston Bruins Blog has last night a repeat of Game Two’s third period comeback. Black & Gold is impressed with all this late drama but wants the B’s to start stronger next time, while Here We Go Bruins! no longer worries about the B’s falling behind.

Barstool Sports has Tuukka Rask and Ryan Miller adding immensely to TD Garden’s future legacy with their work in goal last night. Boston Sports Blog says B’s fans haven’t had the pleasure of watching a game-changing netminder of Rask’s quality in a very long time. The Bruins Blog has Miroslav Satan last night’s hero after being stonewalled by Miller on bids to win this in regulation and again in the first overtime.

Stanley Cup of Chowder has Satan making the Sabres pay for having too many men on the ice. James Murphy sees the irony in winning this one due to a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. Rink Rap has Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff complaining about the tide-turning penalty calls on his Sabres. Tea Party Throwdown brings in Cam Neeley to give Ruff a tide-turning beatdown.

Kathryn Tappen reports all systems are go with Marc Savard, but if he has to wait another week so be it.

Celtics

We look now to the C’s to keep the line moving, as they held serve on Sunday and Tuesday in their first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat.

Red’s Army credits Doc Rivers with two ballsy calls that won these games, the first coming Sunday when he left Tony Allen on the court. CelticsBlog analyzes the emergence of “Good Tony” but in the end concludes he’s a phenomenon fueled more by fan perception than reality. Doc then started Glen Davis over Rasheed Wallace on Tuesday, when Rivers and Davis teamed to make North Station Sports look like a chump for the full 48. For Celtics Life, Davis stepping up big in KG’s absence was reminiscient of the 2009 ployoffs. Bingo Bar Blog is now bidding adieu to the Heat, who aren’t expected back in town until sometime next year.

LOSCY thanks Quentin Richardson for helping the C’s flip on the switch this postseason. Celtics Town says Q-Rich’s continuous provocation of Paul Pierce speak to a far darker reality lurking within. However, Ball Don’t Lie says tossing an elbow at Richardson is the latest illustration of how Kevin Garnett has become an ass during his days in Boston. Celtics Blog doesn’t see a lot of love coming KG’s way down in Miami this weekend.

Green Street has the C’s stepping into a frenzy in Miami, where their regular season road success will be tested starting tomorrow night. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Heat hoping to regain some mental toughness back home.

Patriots / NFL Draft

Leading up to this weekend’s NFL Draft, Joe Posnanski muses that all the fun seems to be in the picking, with little regard for how the player turns out. And Another Thing . . . is loving the pre-Draft analysis by the national treasure that is Jon Gruden.

Here in New England, Jerry Thornton pleads with Beli-Claus to blow him away with some immediate gratification this weekend. Patriots Daily thinks it likely that more than a couple of picks will come from the list of significant contacts Bill Belichick has established over the last few weeks. Mike Reiss sees an end to Foxborough’s courtship of Tim Tebow after Belichick tipped his cap by referring to him as – of all things – a quarterback. Pats Pulpit pokes holes in the case for drafting Penn State DE Jared Odrick with the Pats’ first-round pick, while Extra Points extols Texas LB Sergio Kindle’s versatility.

NE Patriots Draft thinks Tuesday ‘s signing of Torry Holt will allow the Pats the flexibility to draft a WR as late as Friday. Rap Sheet suggests Jason Taylor’s signing with the Jets might give Belichick the opportunity to dump Adalius Thomas once and for all.

Blaug has the NY Jets kicking Patriot butt on paper this offseason. With Tuesday’s release of the 2010 NFL schedule, Pats Chowder has the Pats’ opponents look pretty tough on paper in the upcoming season. Boston Sports Then And Now sees no wiggle room for blown fourth quarter leads this year.

Red Sox

There’s even some good news over at Fenway, although back-to-back walk-off wins are not going to be enough to keep the Sox out of the Week Log cellar, at least not this week. Michael Hurley has the Sox getting a big lift from the Bruins success in their win last night.

Full Count Blog has Darnell McDonald making contributions in the field and at the plate in his first two games. Finding McDonald may be like finding a $20 bill in Masshole Sports‘ pockets, but the first installment on Theo’s run prevention mortgage is coming due and $20 isn’t going to make a dent in it. Fenway Fruitgirl notes that all the underperforming managers and players victimized by Theo’s recent vitriol have something in common – they were all selected by Theo.

Thoughts From Press Row throws hitting coach Dave Magadan under the bus for another woeful Big Papi spring. Projo Sports Blog says never mind Ortiz, as the results have been ugly with J.D. Drew at the plate.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

It Is What It Is tells us of Conte Cuttino, a Stony Brook standout that may well market himself right into the NFL this weekend.

Bloggers, we’re only two weeks away from the greatest collection of minds on the Boston sports scene as the first-ever Boston Sports Blogapalooza hits the Baseball Tavern on May 2.

And closing on a fun note, Marathon Blog brings us sights and sounds from the Boston Marathon finish line Monday afternoon. To all who crossed and those that tried, a job well done!

Tonight will find me sitting with a glass of champagne in one hand ready to toast the 22nd pick of this year’s draft, and two aspirin in the other in case that pick gets dealt for three on Saturday. Let’s hope for the best, and we’ll talk about it all next Thursday.

Week Log: The Ugly, The Bad, And Then The Good

After a week of filling out tax returns – mom’s, family friends’, kids’, mine – everything is still flowing like a Form 1040 to me. That is to say, backwards. So, in honor of Tax Day, let’s do things backward. We’ll start with our most taxing problems, then deduct from them until we’re left with something good to take into the weekend.

Celtics

All right, you work hard all year, maybe even a little OT, pouring into it everything you’ve got, then – very much like Uncle Sam – these 2010 C’s reach into your chest and take a pound of flesh come spring.

Take last night, where Green Street has the C’s honoring Fan Appreciation Night by sitting four starters en route to a 106-95 drubbing by the Bucks that culminated a dismal 24-17 home season. However, 30 minutes from Brian Scalabrine tells Celtics Life how meaningless this game was. North Station Sports fell into a Sheed-Trap, thinking the Bucks game an opportunity for Wallace to get his head together before something called the ‘Rasheed Season’ begins. Bingo Bar Blog goes so far as to tell us why they would have preferred Antoine Walker rather than Sheed coming off the C’s bench this year.

Lex Nihil Novi says that, at the end of the day, this team was never a team and that doesn’t bode well going into the postseason. Celtics Green runs through all apologies for the underachieving C’s and looks to 1969 for playoff inspiration. LOSCY has divested of all his angry stocks and – win or lose in the first round – he still likes this team.

Celtics Blog previews the opening round against the Miami Heat, who, unlike the C’s, are a team that takes good care of the ball. Celtics Hub takes note of the C’s recent cutback in turnovers but wonders if it’s enough to offset the deterioration in defensive efficiency heading into the playoffs.

ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has Doc Rivers calling reports of his potential retirement old news. Not C’s related, but Perk Is A Beast offers an interesting take on a perceived double-standard involving old friend Delonte West.

Patriots

The Pats are in that section where you declare what you didn’t realize you had, then watch it drift away just the same. Take Antonio Cromartie or Santonio Holmes, who were, in hindsight, there for the taking. Pats Chowder says their addition in New York makes Rexy’s crew look formidable on paper, although Mike Reiss says it’s going to take more than a few splashy, headline-grabbing moves in April for him to put the Jets in the Super Bowl come February. And with Brandon Marshall’s trade to the Dolphins yesterday, Boston Sports Blog says Foxborough has been about as active as the closed Circuit City store at Patriots Place.

Jade McCarthy reports all quiet along the Foxborough front, but suspects that will change next week. Tom E. Curran has Bill Belichick acknowledging the probability of picks being traded before the NFL Draft starting next Thursday.

The Masters

Okay, we’re at the bottom of the front page where the bad starts to turn to good. That would be Augusta National. Michael Felger thanks The Masters’ field for not allowing Tiger Woods to walk in with all that stuff floating around in his head and win a major. Joe Posnanski says Tiger should be bound by the same rules of sportsmanship as any 10-year-old kid. Hey, does Sportress Of Blogitude have someone to entertain Woods until his next tournament!

Woods’ tabloid act, alongside Phil Mickelson’s victory, make Sports Central question the legitimacy of golf’s status as a true sport, but We’re Just Saying has last Sunday’s final round upholding the Augusta National tradition of providing a slew of golf drama. Waggle Room has been won over by Mickelson, who embodies all that golf needs. Devil Ball Golf thinks Lefty won The Masters because Augusta National is molded for left-handed success.

Red Sox

Maybe you shelled out a lot of cash this offseason on things you really didn’t want to pay for – your mortgage, braces for the kids, Adrian Beltre. Well, now you get to itemize them and have a little of that pain lessened in the spring. That’s right: the Sox, for all that salary, are back to .500 at 4-4!

April showers bring . . . well, how about a flat Jon Lester? Touching All The Bases says not to worry, as he’ll be the best pitcher in the AL by September.

. . . or how about a punchless David Ortiz? Caught Off The Wall wonders if Big Papi’s decline is just as much a thunderbolt as his ascension was, while Toeing The Rubber feels he’s entitled to a honeymoon from the press while he gets his rhythm back.

. . . and how about a few pleasant surprises? Boston Dirt Dogs pines for Jeremy Hermida to stay in the lineup and Ortiz to stay on the pine, while Fenway Nation proposes a DH platoon of Hermida and Mike Lowell. Hit And Run With Dan Roche thinks Hermida got a wake-up call with his trade to Boston. Michael Hurley has the Sox not missing a beat with Marco Scutaro leading off. Nuggetpalooza has things going well so far when opponents hit the ball into the ground.

Fenway Pastoral is looking for a whole lot more reward for Jordan’s Furniture customers in the microscopically-probable event that a Sox slugger can actually hit that tiny billboard in the centerfield bleachers. Masshole Sports tells the Bronx its time to end this Weekend at Bernies charade and lay George Steinbrenner to rest already.

Bruins

Now the best part. Finding that your hockey team took the sixth seed and best possible first-round matchup when a month ago you didn’t think they’d make the playoffs is like getting some obscure tax credit you didn’t think you were eligible for. The Hub of Hockey has history on the B’s side as they start their 40th postseason series against the Sabres tonight in Buffalo. Kathryn Tappen has the B’s playing their best hockey of the season at just the right time. Danny Picard has ex-Sabre Daniel Paille a key to keeping Buffalo in check, while Barstool Sports assesses the rest of the playoff competition.

Boston Sports Then And Now applauds the B’s, who have found reasons to rally over the past month. James Murphy has Patrice Bergeron a key force in cutting through the frustration and adversity the B’s have experienced this season.

And the news gets better. Something’s Bruin felt a rush of relief when the ugly Panthers card was drawn at the No. 3 spot in this year’s 2010 NHL draft, thereby assuring the B’s of a top-two selection. With either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin in the bag, Bruins Draft Watch 2010 says the Kessel trade is finally vindicated. Black & Gold Blog thinks leftovers will never taste as good as those the Edmonton Oilers will leave for Boston on draft night.

Odds & Sods

. . . a random collection of tidbits like those little boxes where you’re asked to contribute to the Presidential Election Fund.

The BC Blog has hockey coach Jerry York grateful for senior Ben Smith, who led the Eagles to the school’s fourth NCAA men’s ice hockey national championship after beating Wisconsin Saturday night. BC Interruption advises us to sit back and enjoy this because a national championship is damned hard to come by, even with a coach like York.

Marathon Blog has Tom Petty’s words ringing true this week as they endure the hardest part of the Boston Marathon – the wait before Pasta Night. It’s all hard for Jerry Thornton, who thinks the Boston Marathon sucks.

Hey, don’t forget to sign those returns and attach but not staple your check. And bloggers, don’t forget that we’re two weeks away from Blogapalooza 2010 at The Baseball Tavern right in the heart of Red Sox Nation! See you next week.

Week Log: April Fools-Free Day

Last year, bloggers had a field day at my expense, enticing me into clicks where one April Fool’s story after another awaited. This year, I will spare you the same fate. Pumping out your basements all week has been torture enough. So let’s start off a fools-free Week Log with some baseball.

Red Sox

March has gone out more like a duck, and it feels a little hard to believe the Red Sox and Yankees are going to kick things off this Sunday night. We’re Just Saying bemoans the loss of the New England tradition of the Sox opening on a weekday afternoon, but Red Sox Monster thinks altered tradition is a small tradeoff for our team being hailed as global icons. Over on Sports Central, I thank both MLB and ESPN for going Sox-Yankees to open the 2010 season, thereby killing any springtime buzz for the rest of America who thinks they might have a shot at something this year. Confessions Of A She-Fan needs to stop acting like a wuss, so she’s just going to imagine the worst for her Yanks and get it over with already. Masshole Sports thinks Opening Night will suck if Jonathan Papelbon and 30-degree temperatures join forces.

Despite his newly-acknowledged fondness for them, Evan Brunell still manages to find ten reasons to hate the Yankees. It’s About The Money Stupid counters with ten reasons to hate the Sox, while Hardball Talk piles on with an eleventh.

NESN’s Boston Red Sox blog believes a Sox World Series requires 30 starts apiece from its three big arms. Boston Dirt Dogs brings us Maple Street Press‘s far-fetched theory that the Sox offense may not have gotten significantly weaker over the winter. ESPN Boston Red Sox Blog has Theo still in hot pursuit of Adrian Gonzalez. And with a Josh Beckett contract extension not even announced yet, Fire Brand Of The American League turns its attention to extending VMart.

A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Country gets sufficiently worked up about accurate springback chair counts to suggest reporters covering Fenway Park should . . . well, really go to Fenway Park.

Final / Frozen Four

New England teams have been or will be involved in three Final Fours, the one notable exception being NCAA Men’s Basketball, so we’re just gonna skip right over that one.

Starting with NCAA hockey, College Sports Blog has records falling and lamp lights burning out in BC’s 9-7 win over Yale on Sunday that advanced them to their third Frozen Four in the last four years. NESN University has eight players that will shape this year’s Frozen Four, including BC’s Chris Kreider and Cam Atkinson.

In spite of coach Geno Auriemma’s indifference, the Courant’s UConn Women’s Basketball wanted the Lady Huskies paired with Tennessee in women’s NCAA Final Four action this weekend at the Alamodome. Your CT theorizes that if only four Lady Huskies were to take the court, their margin of victory against Baylor could drop into single digits.

In NIT action, The Dagger says the URI Rams could have averted some horrid officiating on Tuesday by simply hitting one of four free throws down the stretch against North Carolina.

Bruins

A mixed week for the B’s as they faced two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. However, the win in New Jersey wasn’t enough to offset outrage from a bad loss to Buffalo on Monday after Claude Julien started Tim Thomas over Tuukka Rask.

Boston Sports Then And Now thinks Julien’s mistakes have sailed the B’s into rough waters this year. Something’s Bruin says Julien needs to be axed for his utterly pathetic decision-making. Boston Sports Blog says the controversial decision to start Thomas against Buffalo was all Rask’s fault anyway.

View From 311 saw all three Sabres goals against Thomas as soft-looking, while Stanley Cup Of Chowder has Rask relatively unchallenged but sharp when he had to be the next night against the Devils.

The Bear Necessities prefers the B’s aim for seventh in the Eastern Conference to face an overhyped Pittsburgh Penguins squad rather than the feared Sabres. Bruins 2010 Draft Watch has all the numbers on what it will take for the Maple Leafs to get the B’s into one of the top . . . errrr, bottom two spots on Draft Night.

Celtics

Just last week, everyone was optimistic the Celtics were finally putting things together with wins in six of eight games, including their last four at home. Today, all the old, dirty laundry is back after two straight TD Garden losses. Where Sunday’s blowout loss to the Spurs was a stinker, North Station Sports calls last night’s loss to Oklahoma City entertaining. Green Street says these are not your mother’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Celtics Hub says last night was everything an NBA fan could want. Red’s Army feels justified in bitching about the officiating.

When it comes to discussing the C’s these days, Celtics Stuff Live thinks we’re all sounding like broken records. A. Sherrod Blakely has the C’s bandwagon up and down all season.

Gino’s Jungle says that, sooner or later in the playoffs, the C’s will have to get things squared away in day games, where the D has often been missing.

LOSCY indulges a basketball shoe fetish as he guides us on a tour of Celtics feet.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured stroll through the world of Boston sports

The BC Blog interprets AD Gene DeFilippo’s real motivations following his dismissal of basketball coach Al Skinner. The Sporting Blog figures DeFilippo for a Dirty Harry fan given the way he likes to blow his coaches’ heads clean off. On Campus considers which BC Eagles may transfer in the aftermath of Skinner’s firing. BC Draft is compiling its list of ten candidates for DeFilippo, and Duke’s Coach K is not on it. BC Interruption sees the Bruce Pearl bandwagon growing legs on its way to The Heights. Eagle In Atlanta has gotta have more flex with Skinner’s replacement.

Tom E. Curran hopes all Belichick’s sniffing around Tim Tebow’s hindquarters is a bad April Fool’s joke. Mike Reiss speculates that such over-the-top PDA is draft gamesmanship on the part of Belichick. It Is What It Is reminds us we’ve officially hit the halfway point in the Patriots’ offseason now that the preseason schedule is out.

Jade McCarthy laughs every time she sees the now-classic Jim Playfair blow-up, but admits there’s a serious side to the onslaught of such rage. Jerry Thornton thinks it’s going to take generations of tearing at it before Boston can rid itself of the scarlet ‘R’ on our chests.

And finally, mainstream journalists better run for cover as Boston-area bloggers are getting together for the first-ever Blogapalooza on May 2. Check out all the details here. Should be a great day of fun at The Baseball Tavern, which, hopefully, has sufficient ladies room amenities for Toeing The Rubber.

That’s a wrap for now. May your basements be dry and the Sox be undefeated the next time we meet. Have a great week!

Week Log: The Tide Is Rising Again

Maybe the Bruins’ wimpy effort last Thursday against the Penguins was the low-water mark in Boaston’s underachieving winter. Since then, the B’s have beaten out the competition for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the C’s have continued on their own renaissance, and hope is rising like the crocuses in my backyard. Well start with the best of the good news.

Celtics

The C’s made it four straight at home with last night’s win over the Denver Nuggets. That’s six of their last eight since hitting their own low-water mark in a 20-point home loss to the Grizzlies on March 10.

Evans Clinchy has the C’s looking more composed now than when they last faced Denver a month ago, and they let the Nuggets know it last night. Gino’s Jungle sees some good things on the court that weren’t there a month and a half ago.

Celtics Stuff Live cites some unexpected play from Tony Allen as a key contributor in last night’s win. The Three-Pointer has Boston’s bench stepping up big as of late. Hardwood Houdini says it may be five months late, but the bench we expected in October has finally arrived in March.

It’s going to take a few more wins against playoff contenders to move any discussion of the C’s legitimacy from Sports Talk Blog‘s heart to their head. With the next six games at home, SportsCenter 5 Overtime says this will be a good test of the C’s ability to hold home court in the playoffs. However, Celtics Blog has Rajon Rondo thinking it’s too late to instill fear in the hearts of visitors coming into TD Garden this spring. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has Rondo snapping out of his funk and making a triple-double look easy last night.

Remember last year when the Bulls beat Boston on St. Patty’s Day dressed essentially in Celtics uniforms? So does North Station Sports, who warns us that this growing trend of jersey theft can lead fans to accidentally rooting for the wrong teams.

Red Sox

Big Shots starts us off with a pictoral blend of spring and spring training, but down in Fort Myers spring is not in full bloom for everyone. Fenway Fruitgirl is perplexed by Boston’s poor Grapefruit League showing and could use a few wins to please her brain and shut up ESPN. Toeing The Rubber pooh-poohed the whole underwhelming Spring Training affair . . . until Josh Beckett was lights out on the mound yesterday.

The Bottom Line wonders how the Sox can extend both Beckett and Victor Martinez now that the latter has become the top potential free agent catcher in next year’s market. Boston Sports Then And Now brings us the dilemma posed by Joe Mauer’s extension in Minnesota. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is glad Mauer is staying put.

Mike Lowell is another guy that appears to be staying put, as Clubhouse Insider has his lack of mobility on stage for every scout to see. Full Count brings us Clay Buchholz being plagued by his old nemesis, the baserunner, in a disappointing spring thus far. Keep Your Sox On has Buchholz aging a little in his singing debut. On Subway Squawkers, Lisa claims a hatred of Sweet Caroline even as you know she was singing the chorus while logging her venomous thoughts. So good, so good! Masshole Sports tells Johnny Damon to pick a side already in the Good vs. Evil Empire war being waged within his head.

Fire Brand Of The American League learns the hard way that if you want to cheer in the press box, your pass better be made of cardboard. Sox ownership is fading fast in the estimation of Bingo Bar Blog, which finds the Krafts and Wyc Grousbeck more appealing. Funny, they didn’t mention Jeremy Jacobs. And with the regular season quickly approaching, Surviving Grady says nobody wins with a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis in the lineup but that appears to be the voters’ choice for Youk’s Opening Night do.

NCAAM

Thoughts From Press Row promises us some excitement tonight and tomorrow in Sweet Sixteen matchups. Jade McCarthy is willing to sacrifice her bracket in the spirit of true March madness.

Down in Kingston, cows aplenty woke up on their backs this morning as fans celebrated URI’s comeback victory at Virginia Tech last night. Rhody is going to the NIT Final Four, and Ram’s Journal says they’ll be right at home in Madison Square Garden. UConn Men’s Basketball bemoans a lost opportunity to travel to Rhode Island as the Huskies dropped 10 of their final 14 games, the last coming Monday in their NIT quarterfinal at Virginia Tech.

Patriots

One thing you won’t see coming out of this year’s NCAA tournament is the Pats’ next corner as Tom E. Curran has Bill Belichick less than wowed by basketball’s foot speed. Extra Points is just as confused as the rest of us while Belichick, in classic Dickensian style, discusses the importance of participation in his offseason training program. The Rap Sheet has Ron Brace working it this offseason, as he looks to fill the void left by Jarvis Green.

The Crowe’s Nest doesn’t think the new rules fully solve the overtime problem, so they shouldn’t solve it at all. On New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss has seven NE-related observations from the NFL owners meetings, including the Pats’ award of four compensatory draft picks come April. Pro Football Talk thinks Belichick would do well to extend former compensatory pick Tom Brady before Peyton Manning gets a new contract in Indy.

Bruins

Even after outright wins against both the Rangers and Thrashers this week that have lifted the B’s playoff hopes, the punch in the guts taken by fans last Thursday has tempered enthusiasm. For instance, Jerry Thornton says last week’s no-heart effort against the Penguins smelled of dead woodchuck under the porch, making B’s fans have to decide how long we’ll put up with the smells until someone goes down there to clean it up. ESPN Boston Bruins says the B’s defense is in flux and the Andrew Ference extension leaves them little wiggle room for maneuvering. Rink Rap was surprised by the extension, given Ference’s history of injuries and questionable NHLPA politicking.

If you thought getting a national health bill through Congress was complicated, Kathryn Tappen takes you through the maze in getting some no-brainer legislation enacted in the NHL. Bruins Blog reports the NHLPA hurdle was cleared this morning, making headhunting a punishable offense starting tonight.

Tea Party Throwdown much prefers Tuukka Rask’s calming presence between the pipes to the heart-attack style of Tim Thomas.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

With Boston College getting a top seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, BC Interruption asks whether the Eagles are better served with success in hockey or in basketball. JSilver’s UConn Blog gives us the skinny on UConn’s Pro Day. If you watched much Huskies football last fall, you know their lineup was filled with some interesting skills positions.

The Inside Track hears of a new NESN program in development that explores the top MLB cities Sox fans travel to. Joe Posnanski looks back on an eternally long four months in the life of Tiger Woods.

And finally, The Joy Of Sox is livid that 60-something Mick Jagger has gone into the studio to enhance tracks for the Stones’ remastered Exile On Main Street. Kind of like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson going back into the ESPN Classics studio to enhance some missing footage from the 1984 NBA Finals.

Sorry for the late delivery, but I had some computer issues this afternoon. Have a great spring weekend, and we’ll see you next week. In the meantime, I’m on Twitter and Facebook these days.

Week Log: Screw the Two, Get Sid The Kid

It’s the game you’ve had circled on your Bruins schedule for the 12 days since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke cheap-shotted Marc Savard right out of the season. In fact, According to Cameron Frye says we’ve been waiting for it like an expectant mother. Yes, the Penguins come to TD Garden tonight, and there are much more important things to resolve than two points in the standings.

There are those like We’re Just Saying who fear the cost of retribution, feeling every point is vital. But back on March 7, the B’s wagered their self-worth by turning the other cheek to play for the almighty point and came away with neither. What did that do for our vitality? For the past fortnight, their inactions drained the rising tide that was lifting hockey in Boston on the heels of the Winter Classic and Winter Olympics. Now, how is this matter to be made whole?

Well, NHL “disciplinarian” Colin Campbell will be in the stands tonight, so he’s got plexiglass on his side. That leaves Cooke and Savard’s relative equivalent, Sidney Crosby, but it’ll be tricky since Bruins Blog has the league sending in the senior zebras. Jack Edwards says an injury attempt on Crosby would send a beastly message to the NHL that teams have to stand up for themselves because the league won’t. Kirk Minihane says to leave Crosby alone since this beef is with Cooke. Hockey Independent wonders who will be the next victim of a predatory hit given the open season Campbell’s ‘lack of precedence’ ruling has created. Probably not Crosby, as The Grinder has Campbell keeping an eye on “dangerous plays” affecting the league’s young star.

With the lack of any disciplinary action on blindside hits to both Savard and the Panthers’ David Booth, Hockey Journal says the NHL front office is trying to make a right out of two wrongs. The Sporting Blog says Sandra Bullock could have fixed this problem when Booth was blindsided back in October. The Old Bruins Fan says the blame for this mess lies not as much with Campbell or even Cooke as it does with Penguins management.

Blog Of Ice has this a costly 3-3-1 road trip, which included the loss of Savard and ended with Patrice Bergeron taking a puck in the knee down in Carolina. The Hub Of Hockey has the stats to show how much Marc Savard’s loss will hurt the B’s.

Big Bad Blog recounts flaws aplenty in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Devils Monday night, but Something’s Bruin has them opening a much-needed can of whoop-ass on the lowly Hurricanes on Tuesday. That win disappoints Bruins 2010 Draft Watch as Toronto now pulls to within four points of Carolina in the standings. Goodbye, Taylor Hall.

Hub Hockey has Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch in Carolina, no doubt resting up for some vigilante justice tonight. Errrr, don’t count on it says Masshole Sports, who has the Bruins’ goon sounding a bit soft.

NCAAM

We’ll need just two minutes on this college hoops season that wasn’t, as only one New England team has made it to the big dance. Joe Posnanski will take the first minute with his annual picks of the 63 NCAA men’s tournament games in 64 seconds and sadly, Vermont is gone in the first two. Sports Central doesn’t see a return of 2005, when the Catamounts shocked the Orange in the tournament’s first round. However, The BC Blog thinks Vermont is underrated and offers the best chance among this year’s No. 16 seeds to knock off a No. 1 for the first time ever. With first-round action going on right now at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Boston Sports Blog looks back 21 years ago when No. 16 Princeton almost did it to No. 1 Georgetown on this very floor. NESN University has Obama staying with a No. 1, taking Kansas to go all the way, and as a standing President he’s never been wrong . . . in picking national champions, that is.

In NIT roundups, UConn Sports has it a question of heart as Jerome Dyson helped the Huskies pull out a two-point victory over the Huskies of Northeastern. Projo College Hoops has URI’s veterans carrying the load in their win over Northwestern.

Red Sox

There’s a lot of focus on medical issues down in Fort Myers these days. Some good news on the Matsuzaka front, as Gordon Edes has Daisuke actually pitching to a batter for the first time all spring. Call Of The Green Monster bills it as the greatest bullpen session in MLB history.

Ryan Westmoreland’s brain surgery on Tuesday hits close to home for Joe Haggerty, who suffers from the same cavernous malformation and offers a gripping account of living with the condition. Full Count says the success of Westmoreland’s surgery will be measured by the return of his quaity of life, not his return to the field.

Boston Sports Then And Now states their case for keeping Mike Lowell. Despite a great spring, The Bottom Line is that Josh Reddick won’t make an impact this year at the major-league level.

Toeing The Rubber attacks the stereotyping of women as baseball fans who want to show off cute clothes at the park, while Mass Hysteria‘s nightmare of seeing Ronan Tynan in a Red Sox jersey anywhere has come true. Boston Dirt Dogs ushers in the Curse Of The Tenor era.

Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely sees last night’s win over the Knicks as another in a line of dominant home performances this month, but CelticsBlog thinks it the luck of the Irish that the C’s drew such an easy opponent on St. Patrick’s Day. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has old friends J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker making their return to TD Garden.

North Station Sports thinks the light switch has been flipped on with these two home games, which mark the first back-to-back double-digit victories since November. Red’s Army has Doc Rivers glowing with confidence over his team and his new guys as things seem to be turning the corner. Green Street has Doc looking to give Shelden Williams somebody else’s minutes.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Keeping with basketball momentarily, Celtics Stuff Live reacts vociferously to the folly of Bill Simmons running the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sabermetrics geeks rip Jerry Thornton a new one, then he rips them right back. And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Mighty Quinn Media Machine has gone green all week, bringing us among other things the inductions into the Irish-American Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Jade McCarthy says cheering for Tiger Woods will never be the same, but she’ll be glued to The Masters anyway. And Bingo Bar Blog hears some cheers for 98.5 The Sports Hub but isn’t sure why they pose such a threat to WEEI.

Sorry I missed you last week. Sometimes, the day job just doesn’t cooperate. Anyway, enjoy the fight(s) tonight and another saintly celebration tomorrow, and we’ll see you here again next Thursday.

Week Log: Winter Cedes To Spring

There’s something about the two-year period between Olympic games. It sneaks up on me, I get excited for the events, then I never watch enough of them and they’re gone. Suddenly, two years feels like a long time when it lies ahead until the next games.

Well, today we’ll start with one final look back at the games of the XXI Winter Olympics because – well, two years is a long time.

Olympics

The action closed out on Sunday with the U.S. taking 37 total medals to lead all nations for the first time in 78 years. The games left We’re Just Saying with much to feel patriotic about, as America earned medals in both traditional and X Game-type events. Postcards From Vancouver found a lot of emerging patriotism in Canadians too, not to mention an abundance of politeness. Time’s World agrees they were the perfect hosts, but if public intoxication were an Olympic event Vancouver would take the gold. On Olympics Blog, Connecticut luger Megan Sweeney didn’t want to part Vancouver, nor part with her Ralph Lauren outfit.

Around The Oval has the highs and lows of speed skating, while Free Time reviews the incredible highs of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Forget things skyward says And Another Thing . . ., because the 50K cross-country commands Bob Ryan’s greatest respect.

And ESPN’s Vancouver 2010 looks to Sochi, where 2014′s Team USA will have a hard time surpassing the accomplishments of Vancouver.

Olympic Hockey

This one aspect of the XXI Winter Olympics was so riveting that it needs a section unto itself. Fourth Place Medal captures all the superlatives of the fortnight, including Mittkini Girl getting the nod as Best Fan Of The Games.

On Sports Central, I admit to an indifference toward ice hockey 30 years ago but now see it today as one of many sources of national pride. The Sporting Blog says the gold medal game was one of those occasions where sports has the power to sear memories into history. NESN’s Olympics blog has the U.S. loss setting President Obama back a case of Yuengling. Olympic Hockey Blog fell in love with Ryan Miller’s play, not to mention his big, brown puppy-dog eyes.

Bingo Bar Blog‘s love of watching hockey has been reawakened after the Olympics to the point where they’re going to give the NHL another chance. Jerry Thornton had fun fooling around with hockey in her foxy Olympic days, then awoke this week to the tired and unsightful hag that is the NHL. I’m Just Sayin . . . understands Commissioner Gary Bettman’s public fence-sitting on the impact of the Olympics on the NHL, but says he should be more concerned about securing a legitimate network that will broadcast his games.

Bruins

Boston Sports Then And Now has many B’s returning from the Olympic break disappointed with their homelands’ performances but needing to get in focus quick, as there’s no room for further error. Enough with the somehows says Kathryn Tappen, who wants answers and in a hurry.

Don’t look the way of outsourced help for those answers, as Joe Haggerty has GM Peter Chiarelli’s conservatism like shackles binding him as yesterday’s trade deadline passed. The B’s did land defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and, although the ESPN Boston Bruins jury is still out on the question of value to the B’s, they ruled it a good move for Seidenberg. Bruins Blog brings the inside scoop on Derek Morris waiving his no movement clause, a move that led to his return to Phoenix. With Seidenberg, a left shot, coming and Morris, a right shot, going, Rink Rap figured another shoe would drop. It never did. Bruins 2010 Draft Watch hates Chiarelli’s moves and wants him out of the way if he’s not going to lead. Hockey Independent says the acquisition of rights to Steve Kampfer is nothing in the now and only compounds fans’ ire with Chiarelli.

Boston Sports Blog thinks the only way to cure the hiccup that is Boston’s depressing season is for fans to start wearing bags over their heads.

Celtics

After a disaster of epic proportions against the NJ Nets last weekend, it was back-to-back wins for the C’s in mid-week. North Station Sports suggests that beauty could be found in the 105-100 win in Detroit . . . if you switched off your lights. Maybe your TV, too. Last night was more like what Green Street was looking for, as the C’s won both at home and on the back half of consecutive night games, crushing the Bobcats, 104-80. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog thinks that Gino may have been just what the C’s needed to dance off some inconsistent play of late. CelticsBlog has Nate Robinson joining Gino as fan favorites after each sparked the crowd last night.

Hardwood Houdini says it’s about time Doc Rivers takes some of the blame for the C’s lack of focus and chemistry. Celtics Stuff Live questions Doc on his use of Sheed to close games. And it’s a Baby step forward and a giant one back for Glen Davis, as Red’s Army says nothing is going his way this year.

Red Sox

Yesterday was the first day of actual competition down in Florida, if you call 15-0 and 6-1 wins over college kids competition. Sawxblog is happy to have his old friend Baseball back. Against Northeastern, Adam Hirshfield has Casey Kelly making a decent pitching debut . . . for a shortstop. Against Boston College, it was a rite of spring as Sean McAdam has BP pitcher Ino Guerrero getting in his annual ABs.

Utility Lou is worried about Jonathan Papelbon’s inability to put another pitch in the back of hitters’ minds last year. Peter’s Red Sox Forever‘s mind is on what goes on down under Sox players’ belts.

With the Chilean earthquake shortening our days by something in the order of milliseconds, Masshole Sports wonders if there’s enough time for the Sox to win another World Series. The days are too short for Toeing The Rubber to ever forgive Johnny Damon – pinstripes or not. It looks like the Yankees will lose one Damon and gain another, as Soxy Lady has Matt and buddy Ben Affleck turning to the Evil side. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine eulogizes the career of Rhode Island’s Rocco Baldelli.

Thanks to all you Olympics bloggers who gave us a little extra color and variety over these past three weeks – not that we needed it! I’ve got your cards, and we’ll see you again in the summer of 2012. As for the rest of you, we’ll see you next Thursday.

Week Log: Of Public ‘Thanks’ And Public ‘Sorry’s

Driven by an intense Olympics spirit, we headed north last weekend for some skiing on the final days of school vacation. For my seven year-old, it was his fifth outing – all with me, all in the last 12 months – and, although I was initially cool to the realization, there was no more denying that the child had now become father to the man. I could no longer keep up with him and worse, I had to rely on others further down the slope to look out for his welfare until I got down. Gotta let him fly and take comfort in gold medalists Sean White and Maine’s own Seth Wescott, who thanked their familes for their success. As Snow Zone observes, nothing is better than having them say, “Thanks, Dad, for teaching me how to ski!”

Winter Olympics

More from the slopes, where Bode Miller says the energy he felt on a crazy Sunday are what the Olympics are all about, as he hammered the downhill and absolutely charged it in the slaloms en route to a cool gold in the men’s super-combined. In the women’s giant slaloms, Fourth Place Medal has Lindsey Vonn’s wipeout ruining things . . . for Julia Mancuso and the two skiers’ already frosty relationship. Jessica Isner has Vonn acknowledging she probably peed off Mancuso.

In the rink, Blog Of Ice says even the empty-net goal sealing Team USA’s 5-3 win over Canada on Sunday was great. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t seem to enjoy things, but don’t buy his Debbie Downer act as Joe Haggerty theorizes he’s positioning future Olympics participation as a League concession in the next CBA. The win, of course, was inspired by Josh Sacco’s Herb Brooks speech, but Bingo Bar Blog suspects the five year-old may be half of a father-son ventriloquist act. Postcards From Vancouver has a raucous Canadian crowd extracting revenge against the U.S. in curling.

In the men’s medal round, both Teams USA and Canada drew a step closer to a gold showdown yesterday. Olympic Hockey Blog has Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller complicating the task for Team USA, while Out Of Bounds has the Swiss getting even in a cheese fondue pong match. Puck Daddy calls out our beloved Mike Milbury as an American Don Cherry after he Eurotrashes Team Russia in the wake of their 7-3 drubbing by Canada, who will now take Zdeno Chara & Co. Rink Rap has the beat-up B’s defenseman turning the corner after Slovakia’s win over Sweden last night. BlogsNH disses the Canadian propensity for falling all over themselves, but will still be very disappointed if Team Canada does not take hockey gold. If they don’t, they could always mint themselves a platinum, as The Dish Rag has Evgeni Plushenko doing after losing to Evan Lysacek in men’s figre skating. And it was another New Englander medaling yeasterday, as Olympics Blog has Connecticut’s Erin Pak getting bronze in women’s bobsled.

Are you a Peacock Puppet? You may be, suggests The Sporting Blog, as NBC has been using us like lab rats to help generate evening viewership.

Celtics

Make it four wins in five post All-Star games for the C’s. Celtics Stuff Live sees the remaining games as a fork in the road, and they’ve extensively analyzed the harder path.

It was Defenseless in Denver on Sunday, as Celtics Central observes that top teams feel confident in beating Boston even when the C’s play well over stretches. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has the D finally showing up late in Tuesday night’s Knicks game. Celtic Dynasty doesn’t care about the defensive no-show on Tuesday, because a win is a win.

CelticsBlog found it bittersweet watching new Knick Bill Walker skying for his first dunk against the C’s. Tuesday’s game was also the Big Three’s first at TD Garden since the trade deadline, and Green Street has Ray Allen taking the court as nonchalantly as he left it before the deadline. North Station Sports did not expect the Big Three to return intact after their last performance at TD before the All-Star break. Evans Clinchy has Allen taking his game to another level since the deadline passed.

And ProBasketballTalk has Brian Scalabrine paying up after losing his bet with 98.5 The Sports Hub‘s Toucher & Rich.

Red Sox

ESPN Boston Red Sox Blog has less practical joking and more hands-on for John Lackey this spring.

One If By Land laments Boof Bonser’s plight in a bullpen where long relievers are persona non grata. Clearing The Bases braced for an onslaught after suggesting Clay Buchholz would be bullpen-bound, but it never came. Fenway Nation calls Daisuke Matsuzaka the linchpin to Theo’s pitching-and-defense mantra.

Utility Lou has Victor Martinez seeing himself first and foremost as a catcher, which makes his free agency value considerably higher than his runners-caught-stealing percentages. The good news is that, as long as Victor is in Boston, he won’t have to worry about the base-stealing of Jacoby Ellsbury, whom Nuggetpalooza cites as the second-biggest kleptomaniac in the AL last year. Boston Dirt Dogs has David Ortiz in search of some protection. Hang in there Papi, because HardballTalk has Adrian Gonzalez not about to give the Padres any hometown discounts. In the meantime, Michael Hurley has Dustin Pedroia willing to pitch in.

Boston Sports Then & Now looks back on baseball’s last triple crown season.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world.

Hey, they’re held for hockey, rowing, and even cycling, so Thoughts From Press Row asks, why not a Beanpot for men’s basketball?

Wth six straight starts before the Olympic break, ESPN Boston Bruins Blog says Tuukka Rask’s time is at hand.

Given the damage that a hockey rink has caused to re-sodding efforts, CSNNE’s Boston Red Sox says the jury is still out on the future of pucks at Fenway Park.

In the aftermath of the infamous Tiger Woods presser, Jerry Thornton tells baseball to move over because public apologies are the new National Pastime. Not even MMA is immune to the fad, as old friend Josh Nason from the now defunct Small White Ball brings us Frank Mir’s sincerest act on MMA Madness.

Masshole Sports finds it mind-blowing that #21 is officially being unofficially retired on Yawkey Way, while Blaug offers the Kraft family 30 reasons why Mosi Tatupu’s #30 should be retired. Rest in peace, Mosi.

In another public apology, we took a week off from B’s blogs as – well, they’re not playing and there’s not much on the trade front. The action should pick up again next week, which is when we’ll next talk. In the meantime, I’m available on Twitter and on Facebook.

Week Log: From Melting Pots To Potholes

If the Olympics can be seen as the sports world’s melting pot, they’re certainly one in the blogging world as well. We’ve got an interesting bag of blogs today and things kick off in Vancouver.

Winter Olympics

We’ll start with the almighty buck, as The Sporting Blog has NBC flexing some muscle after the Winter Olympics nearly topped American Idol in Tuesday’s overnights. Ratings are particularly high in Jerry Thornton‘s house and he’s one Masshole that’s not afraid to admit it.

The Crowe’s Nest is tired of all the bitching from live junkies who abhor tape-delayed events. I have to admit that ever since discovering the joys of DVR for $10 a month, nothing broadcasts live in my living room any more. I fast-forwarded through 90 seconds of commercials on Tuesday night,then through a two-minute segment introducing the women’s alpine cross semis, which led into another 90 seconds of commercials. That’s five minutes of my life I don’t have to wish I had back (even if I did give it back watching the men’s figure skating short program). Boston Homer isn’t crazy about having to duck Olympics results all day long but they’re nevertheless thankful for this bridge across the Dead Zone of athletics. Boston Sports Blog thinks NBC’s designation of the 1980 Miracle On Ice as poster child for tape delay doesn’t cut it in a society that has advanced beyond rotary phones and rabbit ears.

Boston Sports Then And Now reminisces of those miracle men from Massachusetts who helped carry hockey to epic heights of popularity after that Lack Placid performance 30 years ago. Back to 2010, where Joe Haggerty has the odds with Russia and the pressure with Canada in his comprehensive men’s hockey preview. Boston Blood Sox bemoans the narrower ice surface of NHL rinks as they take us through a predictable opening night of games. Olympics Blog says the rinks may not be bigger than in the NHL, but the USA team salary sure is. The 2 Man Advantage has Team USA looking sloppy in their 3-1 win over the Swiss. Olympic Hockey Blog doesn’t know what to do with themselves what with all the ESPN analysts exiled to Vancouver. Among them are both Barry Melrose and his crow’s feet, prompting Out Of Bounds to observe how the winter games have empowered some Canadians to say and do whatever they want. Awful Announcing has ESPN fortunate to have its own highly-experienced designated apologist on staff.

Speaking of apologists, Joe Posnanski exonerates the fun-loving Lindsey Jacobellis for her Jacoblunder of four years past and her Truckdriver after wiping out in the women’s snowboard cross on Tuesday. Sportress Of Blogitude is making no apologies for Jacobellis’ sorry performances on the world’s stage. Postcards From Vancouver has Jacobellis as another snag in Vermont’s medal haul after Hannah Kearney started things off so promisingly with gold in women’s moguls. Bode Miller’s Blog has all speed and no tactics making Bode a psyched boy on his way to a bronze in the men’s downhill.

ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog says it wouldn’t be an international speedskating event without the big oom-pah sounds of Little Beer. Fourth-Place Medal has a good laugh at curling athletes’ expense, but Adam Hirshfield says their skills make for compelling television.

Red Sox

What’s better than watching shuffleboard on ice? Try a truck starting up and pulling away from Fenway Park. I spent a morning doing just that for Boston Dirt Dogs so you wouldn’t have to. And I wasn’t alone. Full Count was there, as Kristine Leahy catches the ephoria on video. Toeing The Rubber was as well, and Cyn is thrilled with the unfolding drama of spring. Then there was ESPN Boston Red Sox, which warns against putting those shovels away just yet. And as the departing truck signifies the coming of spring in Boston, Extra Bases observes that the arriving truck signals the same in Fort Myers.

With pitchers and catchers reporting today, A Very Simple Game tries to lay the media-contrived controversies of a long offseason to rest. Brownie Points reports on John Lackey discreetly slipping into town yesterday. The Bottom Line worries that all those innings in Japan are catching up with Daisuke Matsuzaka as he needs to shut it down for a few days.

Evans Clinchy is in no hurry to see catcher Victor Martinez re-signed before he even throws out his first runner of the season . . . whenever that may be. Touching All The Bases has Josh Reddick’s arm keeping opponents from advancing along the bases even as his bat will keep him from ever getting on. Hit And Run thinks Theo would have preferred Jason Bay in his outfield but he’ll be okay with Mike Cameron as Plan B. Nuggetpalooza crunches some numbers on Cameron.

Prevailing thought has Jonathan Papelbon leaving Boston as soon as he hits free agency, but One If By Land points out that Daniel Bard may one day be just as expensive and just as likely to fly. Gordon Edes has Papelbon trying to emulate Mariano Rivera – both on the mound and at the negotiating table. Surviving Grady thinks Paps would be a nice heir-apparent to Old Mo, but the Bronx may not be ready for him in pinstripes.

Celtics

The second half started off with a passable 95-92 win in Sacramento Tuesday night, but things quickly get tougher. North Station Sports harbors no illusions of miracles for the rest of the season, but they do hope to have the C’s get a win tonight against the Lakers. Green Street has Rajon Rondo noting that tonight’s game isn’t for the NBA championship. Celtics Stuff Live tries to capture the full Rondo . . . in as few words as possible.

Lent hadn’t even started when Mass Hysteria pined for running Jesus out of Boston. After dreaming of all the consideration to be reaped by trading Ray Allen, CelticsBlog feels a little letdown from the possibility of him staying and only Nate Robinson coming to town. As the Robinson trade looms, ESPN Boston Celtics Blog suggests this may be more about Danny Ainge shaking up the C’s by removing another piece of their championship team of two years back.

Bruins

When it comes to this year’s Bruins, most see the glass as four-fifths empty; Michael Felger, on the other hand, sees it as a fifth full and believes they’re in position to go to the next level after the Olympic break. Methinks Felgy may have downed a fifth before getting behind the keyboard on that one.

Bingo Bar Blog has Boston not as much a hockey town as a winning hockey town. When it comes to missing out on signing key players, I’m Just Sayin’ has Jeremy Jacobs as proof that a fool and his money are not always parted. Rink Rap feels the need – the need for speed in the B’s defenseman ranks.

NASCAR

So, it was Super Bowl Sunday for NASCAR in Daytona last Sunday, but this Super Bowl was apparently threatened by female drivers and potholes. Boston.com’s Auto Racing Blog ascribes Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray with saving the Great American Race from making a spectacle of itself. Wouldn’t the spectacle of 43 cars engaged in a nearly-perpetual left turn be more in need of redemption than Danica Patrick standing in the Winner’s Circle?

Unrestricted says the pothole made last Sunday like coupon day at the ammunition outlet store for NASCAR detractors, an analogy that is lost on most of the NASCAR-free world. AOL’s Motorsports Fanhouse calls the incident a super gaffe in NASCAR’s self-proclaimed Super Bowl. From The Marbles has Fox’s coverage with a few potholes of its own.

That’s a wrap. Here’s hoping you can dodge your own potholes and those pesky live updates from Vancouver throughout the week and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.